As triathletes, we go through a lot of training stress on a daily basis. Juggling three different sports often means that a day off is ‘just’ swimming or cycling. With this amount of training volume comes a lot of training fatigue and it is not uncommon to feel tired after training. In fact, it is a kind of package deal.
For most triathletes, it’s not just swimming, biking and running. Usually it is swimming, working, cycling, time with kids, running, working on projects. And probably a dozen other little things in between. Needless to say, such an intense schedule often leaves many triathletes exhausted. If it’s not physically, then it’s definitely emotionally exhausted. Sometimes a single exercise makes an athlete tired and not energized for the next few days.
It’s not just triathletes who suffer from post-workout fatigue. Any athlete who puts their personal limits to the test and wants to improve their performance can get tired after exercise.
The good news is that we don’t have to give up our fitness goals to feel energized and live fulfilling lives. Nor on our personal to be a competitive athlete. With some hands-on training, recovery, and lifestyle changes, it’s possible to combine an intense workout schedule with a busy life. And have the energy to enjoy it.
There is much to learn from triathletes about preventing fatigue after exercise. Juggling three different sports requires a lot of effort and caution to maintain the workload and keep fatigue at bay.
10 Training & lifestyle tips to not feel tired after exercise
It would of course be great to have the ability to organize the entire training schedule around recovery. Or at least take a longer nap in the middle of the day. But chances are if you click on this post, sports isn’t your main source of income.
Most of us have a day job, a family, and other personal commitments. So below are a few changes that any athlete can make to optimize their lifestyle and training process so that they feel energized instead of tired throughout the day.
#1 Shorter but frequent sessions to avoid feeling exhausted after exercise
Frequency and volume is the ‘secret sauce’ of every top athlete. Consistent easy exercise builds a solid foundation of strength and endurance. Later on, this foundation allows athletes to tolerate more training load, recover faster and get even faster during more intense phases.
Long sessions aren’t the only way to build that aerobic base, though. Splitting longer sessions into several shorter ones is a great way to reduce post-exercise fatigue and trigger smaller but more frequent adjustments. This way athletes can add a lot of training volume and not feel tired after training.
#2 A (berry) smoothie every day to provide the body with nutrients
Drinking a smoothie every day is arguably one of the best things athletes can do to speed up their recovery. One made of fruits, vegetables and especially berries provides everything the body needs to recover from an exercise session.
Such a smoothie promotes an alkaline environment that reduces inflammation throughout the body. Not to mention it’s nutrient-dense – full of vitamins and minerals that our body needs to replenish after it’s pushed to its limits.
#3 Meditate to reduce mental stress
Stress is our mental response to everything that happens to us. It mobilizes the body, promoting the release of adrenaline and cortisol which increase heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. That can be very exhausting, as even minor stress reactions (such as being late or being stuck in traffic) add up throughout the day. For someone on an intensive training schedule, this extra pressure takes the energy away from recovery and is a big factor behind fatigue after exercise.
More and more elite and amateur athletes are recognizing the value of controlling their mental state and are beginning to incorporate meditation practice into their daily routines. Even 5-10 continuous minutes a day helps train the mind to recognize thought patterns and control response. That’s a particularly useful hack for athletes, because it not only helps you to worry less, but also builds mental resilience for when things don’t go well. Like getting a flat tire halfway through the bicycle leg.
Also read: Getting started with meditation – 8 useful tips for beginners
#4 Divide the time on the threshold to reduce post-workout fatigue
Training at the lactate threshold is a great way to unlock a lot of speed. Pace runs, VO2max intervals, FTP intervals – all this brings a lot of fitness benefit. But it comes at a high cost and causes a lot of fatigue after exercise. For athletes who train no more than 10 hours a week, prolonged effort on the threshold will result in a feeling of fatigue after training and will have an impact on long recovery for the rest of the week.
To improve the lactate threshold, the most important factor is the total time at the threshold effort. So, rather than a 30-minute tempo run, a more effective approach would be to break the total effort into smaller chunks and add short aerobic breaks (zones 1/2) in between. Having these short breaks helps the body to recover a bit and this in turn allows it to increase the number of intervals and the total time on the threshold.
Training heart rate zone
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#5 Stay hydrated to accelerate the elimination of waste products
Water plays a key role in the energy production process. That’s why it’s so important to stay hydrated throughout the day, not just during exercise. Without adequate water intake, the body will slow down all its functions and try to maintain the limited supply it has. Sweating during exercise makes it worse and makes an athlete even more tired and energetic.
For anyone who wants to be more energetic, a good lifestyle hack is to drink more plain water – at least 2-3 liters per day (not counting what is consumed during exercise). This will also help flush waste products from the body and speed up the recovery process.
#6 Mobility or yoga flow every morning to promote blood flow
One of the things that often limits performance is muscle tension. It slows oxygen transport, contributes to the build-up of lactic acid, and limits the force we can produce by reducing range of motion.
As athletes, we are no strangers to that with all that time spent training in one specific move. Add to that a desk job or working from home and key muscles like hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings stop working as effectively as they should. In addition to hindering performance, it can also cause common problems such as knee and lower back pain.
A 10-15 minute session of mobility or yoga flow (like Sun Salutation) is a great way to mobilize and awaken the body. It helps relieve tension and promote blood flow to the muscles, which speeds recovery, reduces post-workout fatigue and makes our bodies work more effectively.
Tired after exercise? Do some form of mobility every day — it helps open up tight areas and help the blood deliver oxygen and nutrients faster.
#7 Add explosive strength training to make the body more efficient
There are many benefits that strength training has for athletes of any sport: increased strength, improved performance, injury prevention, growth hormone release, and so on. But not all types of strength training fit the needs of triathletes because of the amount of fatigue they involve.
In addition to core training, it’s a good idea to add a short explosive strength session to the training process. In the basic period, athletes can use strength training, while in the competition period it can be plyometric jumps (lower body) or throws (upper body). The focus of such sessions should be on producing maximum power using a very high load (or explosiveness), a low number of repetitions and a long rest interval.
Also read: 12 Effective Strength Building Workouts For Every Experience Level
#8 Choose a vegetarian or plant-based diet to reduce the burden on the digestive system
They say vegetarians are always energetic and happy. And for good reason: vegetarian and plant-based meals are much easier to digest, so the body spends less energy on them. Eating more foods that are in their natural state (not processed) also help control blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation throughout the body.
If you feel constantly tired after exercise, try a lighter diet. The less energy the body has to spend on digestion and dealing with inflammation, the more it can use to handle fatigue after exercise. Isn’t that what we as athletes need?
#9 Use cold showers to quickly stop feeling tired after exercise
Cold exposure is a great recovery hack to reduce the overall inflammation that occurs in the body – be it muscle soreness or in general in response to general stress. The shock effect of the cold speeds up the metabolism and helps to give the body energy. In addition, since cold helps to lower body temperature, it also trains the body to better thermoregulate. Even in the heat, making it a great strategy for heat adaptation and preparation for racing in hot conditions.
Many athletes use ice baths to reduce post-workout fatigue. However, cold showers can have a similar effect on the entire body. Start with a warm shower and gradually lower the temperature to help the body adjust and finish with a cold one.
#10 Light dinners to improve sleep quality
Combining work, family and sports often results in very busy days. For many athletes, this also means dinner is the biggest meal of the day, as it allows more time to relax, prepare, and eat.
The problem with this is that from noon our metabolism starts to slow down. So anything eaten at night takes much longer to be digested properly. Although food provides us with all the nutrients, consuming it right before bedtime disrupts the recovery process. Instead of resting and recovering, our bodies stay awake trying to process and digest food. It’s no surprise that some athletes feel exhausted the next day after a workout.
Are you looking for top condition? Or are they preparing for a specific adventure? Maybe you want to develop a more resilient mindset and integrate training into a busy lifestyle? Whatever your goals, I can help you develop a balanced training plan and coach you to reach your full potential. Get in touch through this page and let’s get started.
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